You have only seconds to make an impression. That’s fast. Really fast.

The lightning speed at which someone else’s mind is moving to size you up can be the difference between getting a job, a business deal, a subscriber, a fan, a date…or not. In a matter of seconds, snap judgments by others can affect your life dramatically.

Is it worth the risk to leave making a good impression to chance?

Of course not.

But, until you understand exactly what your world sees in you, you will not have as strong a chance to control what comes your way and what passes you by.

Understanding yourself is the first step toward making sense of how others perceive what you put out there. If you like the results, then great. If you don’t, then it’s a good idea to strengthen your best assets and manage the not-so-great ones so you can get out of life what or whom you want.

Is the first impression you make permanent? Not always, but sometimes, yes it is. And if the timing of a bad impression is good, the results can have a very long shelf life.

To give yourself the best chance to be successful in your career, your relationships and life overall, put your best foot out there. Always. Manage expression to make impressions—lasting ones. Forgive yourself for mistakes, but learn their lessons, discard the circumstances and move on toward who or what you want.